(Reuters) – Russian Vera Zvonareva sent a message for peace during her 6-1 6-4 third-round loss to American Danielle Collins at the Miami Open on Saturday, donning a visor with the words “No War” scrawled on the side.
The gesture comes after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24 in the largest assault on a European state since 1945 that prompted outrage and broad sanctions from the United States and its allies.
Russia calls its action a “special military operation.”
Zvonareva was part of a Russian podium sweep in the women’s singles at the 2008 Olympics, where she picked up bronze. Twice a Grand Slam finalist, the 37-year-old is currently ranked 117th.
Russian Daniil Medvedev and Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka both called for peace at Indian Wells earlier this month. Belarus has served as a staging ground for the invasion.
Tennis authorities banned Russia and Belarus from international team competitions following the invasion. Players from Russia and Belarus are allowed to compete on tour but not under the name or flag of their countries.
Australian Open finalist Collins advanced on Saturday despite neck pain affecting her form in the second set, where she twice sought the help of a physio.
(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by Ken Ferris)